Life, choice, and freedom

Here are some thoughts, looking at two ways of understanding freedom, and so viewing the world. The two ways are life and choice (do you see where I’m going here?).

The freedom of life, is when the thing in question, be it a seed, a goat, a mother or an unborn child, is given the space and opportunity to go out of itself, growing, giving itself away, revealing the secret of its nature. To be free, is to be youwith all that that entails; to live out your gifts, talents, hopes, dreams, strengths, and weakness too. To not be free, is to have not-you imposed upon you, whether by violence or deception.

Freedom of choice on the other hand, considers matters as external to an individual you which is an abstract notion of an arbitrary will. It looks at all things as essentially separate from you, and with no inherently correct choice. Freedom, then, is to have as many options as possible, or equivalently, to have as much subject to your own arbitrary dominion as possible. To not be free is to have fewer choices. (Note that freedom here is always finite, with the constraints of nature an obstacle to your freedom.)

Freedom of life views the world around us as wonderful and bursting with life, each part valuable and dignified in and of itself, in intimate relationship with ourselves, and deserving of our care and respect. It sees it as our freedom to coexist joyfully with all others, sharing freedom as we ourselves are free. My freedom complements yours and yours complements mine.

Freedom of choice views the world around me, including my own body and being, as an obstacle to be conquered by my will, with no value besides what I myself assign to it at each moment. Everything and everyone is fundamentally cut off from me, and their freedom of choice naturally competes with my own. Everything is objectified.


Where eyes of life see a great jungle, with a cacophony that’s a symphony that’s a theophany, eyes of choice see a menu, with various prices and deals for various products for consumption.

Paradoxically, this “freedom of life” makes demands on us. But each of these demands, is not coming from outside of us, but from the truth itself, the truth of our reality within each situation. The demand comes from our deepest depths, and not from outside. In each situation, the demand is always to live as fully as possible, to be what and who you truly are within that situation. From time to time, this means heroism and sacrifice: that is life.

And as a far greater contradiction, the “freedom of choice” that tries to demand so much from the world, always ultimately enslaves me, because it makes my desires of the world, and so I am made subject to the world. In considering a matter as a mere choice, I am putting its options up for sale. Perhaps not to people, but at least to circumstances. And in the end, what am I selling but myself?


We have a real and inherent obligation to every creature, from algae to giant redwoods, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope, from the beggar to the prisoner, from the newly conceived zygote to the terminally ill, and to ourselves too. And we are asked to fulfil this obligation insofar as each one is our neighbour, that is, as each is within our reach. It is the obligation to live and to give life, or equivalently, to love.

God bless you

Culture of death; Society of Zombies

We live in a culture, where people are seen as separate autonomous beings, made to do whatever they may want, and to provide pleasure. A culture that encourages me to view you as a lifeless tool to achieve my desires. A culture that has no time for people’s problems, but looks at them and suggests neglect to deal with the symptoms, and death as the cure. As St. John Paul II called it, a ‘culture of death’.

And what is more clear, than that to participate in the culture of death, is practically to be living as dead? Zombie fiction has provided the illustration perfectly.

The great masses, with cold, empty eyes, who wander aimlessly; who thoroughly ignore their undead brethren; whose only perverse desire is to consume the life of survivors, and so satisfy their empty hungers. To them, all is either nothing, or a prey. All paths are called the same, and so all worthless, and they fall under the ‘tyranny of relativism’, where meaning is not permitted, and man is reduced below the animals. Where a man is yet free, he is detested and hungered over, by those who wish to sustain their slavery. They desire life, but only to grasp and crush it. They do not touch, heart to heart and soul to soul, but corpse to corpse.

The useless or inconvenient are ignored until they wither and die. Or, if they should make any demands that all should come to life, and do something for others, they are attacked [do not make an appeal to a zombie’s humanity]. And when they are attacked, they are either slaughtered and consumed, or survive only to become another lifeless corpse roaming the world, seeking to consume.

In the hands of the living dead, the unborn, the elderly, the infirm, the unemployed, the criminal, and all in their grasping hands, are given only the options of death by destruction or (if they are able) death by corruption.


Thank God, few are yet so completely dead. The infection works slower than imagined, and can be resisted. But don’t be complacent, it is slower but tougher.

We must fight, and fight bravely. We must oppose death with life; violence with peace; hatred with love; darkness with light; destruction with creation; consumption with communion; those who eat flesh to corruption and destruction, with those who partake of the living body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, ‘the medicine of immortality’. When the dead are infecting the living, we must look to Jesus, who brings true life to the dead. While all seek to grasp all, we must strive to give all. For this, we must be nourished by the greatest gift of all time: the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross, present before us on the altar. Only his sacrifice gave the resurrection, and only by his sacrifice can we make any worthy, living and life-giving sacrifice/gift.

God bless you.

The Deaths of Strangers

Do we care when a stranger dies? I know we do, sortof. But it’s hard. There are so many strangers dying all the time, that we can’t mourn all of them, all the time. And, of course, we don’t know them to mourn them. I think this explains the everyday carelessness to those dying of hunger, thirst, AIDS, murder, genocide, or abortion.
Joseph Stalin is quoted as saying,

‘One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.’

I’ve heard that Stalin killed millions of “his own” people, so he may not have meant it this way…
I recently considered the value of life, and how it seems to change. Killing a baby is atrocious, nearly all agree (though in some countries they are often killed just for being female). Killing an unborn baby, is apparently not so clear in the eyes of many. Even pro-life Churches and groups do not act as I think people would if adults were similarly killed. Are they worth less even to the pro-life? Does their worth increase until birth, then decrease as they age? What determines the value of a human?
I’ve concluded, that a human being, endowed with a soul, has a constant value from beginning to end. The apparent change is based only on how much you know them.
The problem with abortion, in this regard, is that the baby is a complete stranger to nearly everyone, except a slight relationship with his/her mother and (to a lesser extent) father. We don’t know any like them, so we can’t even mourn by imagining who they are like.
It takes more imagination to consider their death. You can consider it as a soul, or yourself as the parent-to-be.
Deliberately trying to empathize with strangers is important. We must know they are our brothers, so we can treat them as such. We need to understand the statistics by feeling the tragedies.
I believe it is only when we mourn properly that we will act properly in the face of mass tragedy.
God bless you.

P.S. I mentioned the killing of babies based on gender earlier, and it’s so important I felt the need to provide some more info. If you want to learn about this, visit 50 million missing by clicking here.